Why I fight for the detainees held in Guantanamo

By Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, Staff Attorney at Reprieve US.



Guantanamo Bay is the original sin of oppressive post-9/11 policy.

Fifteen years later and still no one has received a trial or apology for the heinous abuses they suffered. We know today that most of the men in Guantanamo Bay didn’t belong there in the first place, and most of the men were not captured on a battlefield, but were sold for bounties offering “enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life.”

Chosen because it was the “legal equivalent of outer space,” it came to represent the destruction of American values, where we tortured and detained solely Muslim men, denying them any right to challenge their treatment.

For me, as an American who grew up in a post-9/11 society burning itself to the ground with fear and otherizing, I consider it my personal obligation to fight the government abuse that rises from those flames and is wrought in my name. Each day I do this work, I find myself astounded—astounded by the gravity and the consistency of injustice suffered, as well as by the tremendous strength of spirit that I have the privilege of seeing in Reprieve’s clients.




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